Sunday 22 October 2017

Hearn claims Hammers stadium deal will 'crush' Leyton Orient

Tom Peck

West Ham United have been confirmed as tenants of London's Olympic Stadium, which will be dramatically refurbished.

They will move into their new home at the start of the 2016-17 season after an estimated £160m has been spent on reducing its capacity from 80,000 to 54,000, putting in a new cantilevered roof to cover all the seats, and installing retractable seating over the running track.

The move is likely to mean that, in three years' time, West Ham will be playing in the Premier League's third-largest stadium. With the potential for large attendances in a world famous arena, as well as the club's considerable footballing heritage, it may be an attractive proposition for foreign buyers.

But David Gold, one of the club's two chairmen, said: "Our intention is to be at this football club until we die. There is every possibility that we will hand over ownership of this great football club to our children."

SAGA

West Ham's confirmed tenancy is the latest chapter in a highly protracted saga, which still faces the prospect of judicial review on behalf of Barry Hearn, the chairman of neighbouring League One side Leyton Orient.

"The LLDC (London Legacy Development Corporation) have made a massive mistake," Hearn said. "They are my lawyer's words and not mine, in as far as they have ignored their own rules so we are going to challenge that with a judicial review in the High Court."

Leyton Orient's stadium is less than a mile away, and Hearn fears the arrival of West Ham so close to his doorstep will "crush" the club.

West Ham will begin a period of consultation with fans, many of whom are against the move from Upton Park, where the club have played since 1904, and where a statue of the club's 1966 World Cup-winning players Bobby Moore, Martin Peters and Geoff Hurst stands.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport